Phases of the Moon
Senior Capstone Project
For my Senior Capstone Project in the fall of 2022, I decided to create a theoretical costume design for the play Phases of the Moon by Bryna Turner and then created one of the costumes from my design. This play is currently not published- I found it through Bryna's website and requested the script. My design is only theorhetical and is not tied to any production of the play.
The play is set in the early 1930's at Vassar College in New York during winter time. It follows famous poet Elizabeth Bishop aka "Bishie" and her two best friends Margaret Miller and Louise through one full lunar cycle of their final year.
One of my main goals was to improve my rendering abilities for costume design. I originally hoped to create a digital rendering for all three characters, but I ended up making only Bishie as it proved to be a harder learning curve than I predicted.
I based my design around an actual sewing pattern from the time that I then used to create the dress.
As for colors, I found in my research through magazines and clothing catalogues that similar to today, darker colors were more prominent in the winter, as well as targeted towards academic oriented students, for a more professional look. I chose purple as a nod to the sapphic symbolism with lavender, but added a rust brown to balance out the vibrancy and keep Bishie in the serious academic look.
Here is my finished digital rendering of my design for Bishie's character.
Since the play is set during the winter time at Vassar College in New York, I researched and swatched heavier fabrics.
I also took into consideration that Bishie did not come from wealth, I was on a small budget, and theoretically an actor would be wearing this onstage under stage stage lighting, so I opted for a more budget friendly and lighter winter fabric: cotton flannel.
To create matching buttons, I used four standard buttons of the same size and covered them with my rust fabric through hand swing before adding them to the dress.
I found the buckle piece in my school's costume shop, and thought it fitting as the belt is purely fashionable- not functional.
For fun, I also took some photos of my project with my 35mm film camera- these make it look more like it would have it was in a catalog back in the 30's!
Special thanks to:
Levonne Lindsay, my mentor and UArts Costume Shop Manager